NORTHERN VERMONT – Jerrie Nash of Northern Vermont died unexpectedly on November 23.
In her vast library of books were tucked hundreds of four-leaf clovers that she had found over the years. Truly, she was a lucky and well-read woman.
Born in 1943 in Spokane, Wash., with “blue baby syndrome” Tetralogy of Fallot, Jerrie (Greene) was not expected to live past age twelve. A then-revolutionary heart surgery saved her life in 1956 at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. William Hardy Hendren III performed the Blalock-Thomas shunt surgery that allowed Jerrie to live into adulthood, where she continually defied the odds and defined her own life.
She loved growing up on Doherty Street in Fall River, Mass., where she felt deeply tied to her three brothers Al, Roger, and Danny and to her parents Hyalie and Leo Greene (Z”L). Her fondest memories were of summers at their cottage on Stafford Pond. There, Jerrie enjoyed learning the constellations, cooking food on an outdoor fire, swimming constantly, and picking blueberries. Summers on Stafford Pond shaped Jerrie’s lifelong love of nature.
Jerrie graduated from Durfey High School in 1961 and went to Marlborough College in 1961-1963 and met Pat Nash, whom she married. The two moved to Eden where they built a log house and had a daughter, Sarah. Jerrie enjoyed the rural life: raising goats and chickens, making bread and yogurt, knitting and sewing homemade clothes, growing a big garden, appreciating nature, and reading literature. From Eden, they moved to Walden and had a son, Eben. When Jerrie and Pat parted ways, Jerrie continued to live in Central Vermont, raising her kids with deep ties to nature.
While living in Cabot, she met Peter Sherwin, and they had a daughter, Rosemary. With her three children, Jerrie shared a deep love of nature, wild foods, folk art, poetry, and stories. She deeply valued education and earned her BA from Johnson State College while working and being a single mother. She loved literature, had an incredible talent for memorizing and reciting poems. She loved to read aloud and had a great reading voice. In addition to finding four-leaf clovers, she had a knack for finding chanterelles and wild blueberries. She knew hundreds of woodland flowers and especially liked identifying the spring ephemerals.
She held local farm jobs and also did seasonal harvest work, picking apples in southern Vermont and blueberries in New Hampshire. In doing seasonal work, Jerrie lived communally with the other workers, a lifestyle that aligned with Jerrie’s aspirations for society.
Jerrie also helped start a local flour mill cooperative and was a founding member of the Plainfield Food Co-op. She enjoyed contributing her part as a parent in Plainfield’s cooperative preschool, Center School. She had a strong belief in community, despised greed and anything she saw as bourgeois, and truly believed in a more egalitarian, cooperative society. She loved watching and acting in community theater. She was a member of the Beth Jacob Synagogue and enjoyed her role as Haiku Laureate, writing a haiku for High Holidays for many years.
Jerrie enjoyed music and had an appreciation for a wide variety of music. She played in the Plainfield Village Gamelan. She loved to dance to Klezmer music. She liked Tuuvan throat singing and Sephardic music, polka tunes and protest songs. Though her heart condition prevented her from dancing as much as she’d like, she had a dancing heart. Jerrie had two additional open-heart surgeries at Boston Children’s Hospital, performed by Dr. Pedro J. del Nido and Dr. Prem Shekar in 1996 and 2010. Her family is deeply grateful for their work on her heart.
Jerrie lived in Cabot, Plainfield, and Marshfield for close to 50 years, and moved to Greensboro and Craftsbury in recent years to live near her daughter Rose’s family. Wherever she went, she gave long hugs, recited poetry, and showed her intellectual curiosity. She had a quick wit and lively sense of humor. She delighted in wordplay, especially malapropisms, feghoots, and Spoonerisms. She loved playing Scrabble and particularly relished using obscure words that her opponent might not know. She had a childlike quality and was happiest sitting on the floor or the ground, playing or reading with children.
She leaves behind her three brothers, Al, Roger, and Danny Greene, and nephew Jacob Greene, her three children Sarah Nash, Eben Nash, and Rose (Nash) Modry and their spouses, Scott Schafer, Joanne Nash, and Jay Modry, her first husband, Pat Nash, and her four grandchildren, Dylan DiPentima, Rory Nash, Tobias Nash, and Fox Modry.
In Jerrie’s honor, “Touch the earth, love the earth, honor the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills, and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places” (Henry Beston).
There will be a summer memorial gathering for friends and family from near and far.
Contributions in her memory can be made to Beth Jacob Synagogue or Craftsbury Community Care Center.